Seasons of the Year

Seasons of the Year

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The year is divided into four seasons; Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. The divisions are made at the Equinoxes and Solstices; Vernal or Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumnal or Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice. The Equinoxes are the days in the year when the day and night are most nearly the same length and when the sun crosses the equator. Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and when the sun is midway between the North Pole and the Equator. The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and when the sun is midway between the South Pole and the Equator. In the Southern Hemisphere this is reversed, the longest day comes in December and the shortest in June. (There is a table below that shows the dates of the Solstices and Equinoxes for the years 2000-2005.)

Historically these days have been celebrated by pagans and wiccans. In addition, other days of the year are celebrated as holidays; which ones, and the names given to the festivals; vary by the wiccan tradition one belongs to. I have collected a number of these variations in the table below. Generally speaking, there are eight holidays, or sabbats in the Wiccan year. The exact interpretation of the significance of the holiday and the practices involved in celebrating it vary considerably and will not be detailed here. It will suffice to state that these days were and are celebrated in a large number of cultures and religions all over the world. They have been celebrated for milenia and the power of these days is significant. Rituals that are appropriate to the season are generally conducted to align oneself with the power associated with them but magic is not generally done at these celebrations. For further, more specific, informtion regarding the celebration of the sabbats see the links at the bottom of the page.

Most of these holidays were passed on to the mundane world in altered form. In general the February 2 celebration, which has passed into the mundane world as Groundhogs Day, is an acknowledgement of the approach of spring and winters loosening grip. The Spring Equinox, celebrated as Easter, is the celebration of the return of life and growth to the earth. May 1 is the celebration of planting crops, the fertility of the earth and the union of the Goddess and God. It has been represented as May Day, a thinly veiled fertility festival, in many countries. Summer Solstice is the celebration of the peak of the solar powers which generally represent the God. August 1 is basically a harvest festival, celebrating the earths bounty and has been transformed by various cultures into other harvest celebrations such as Thanksgiving and Octoberfest. Fall Equinox is usually understood as a festival of rest after labor and has been translated into Labor Day by the mundane world. October 31 of course is celebrated as Halloween by non-pagans and as the passing of fall into winter and the death of the God/Sun by pagans. The Winter Solstice marks the rebirth of the God/Sun, which has been transformed into Christmas.

Pagan/Wiccan Festival Days

Date Name(s) of Festival
Feb 2 Lupercalia, Imbolg, St Brigits Day, Candlemas
March 21
Ostara, Vernal Equinox
April 30/May 1 Beltane, Bealtaine, May Day, Walpurgis
June 21
Midsummers, Litha, Summer Solstice
August 1 Lammas, Harvest Home, Lughnasad
Sept 21
Mabon, Autumnal Equinox
Oct 31/Nov 1 All Hallows, Samhain, Hallows
Dec 21
Yule, Winter Solstice

Festival Days of the Goddesses

Name of Goddess Festival Days
Aphrodite April 23, June 24
Ariadne December 26
Artemis February 12
Athena March 19-23, December 25
Bellona March 24
Bona Dea May1, May 3, December 3
Brighid February 1
Ceres February 2, April 11-19, August 1 & 24, September 23, october 1 & 4-5, November 8, December 3
Cybele March 15 & 22-27, April 4-10, December 3
Demeter February 1-3, September 23, October 1 & 4, December 13 & 22
Diana May 26 - 31, August 13 & 15
Inanna January 1
Isis January 9, February 5, March 5 & 20, May 14, June 24, July 3 & 19, August 12 & 27, October 28, November 3 & 13-14, December 22
Juno January 1, February 2, March 1 & 7, June 1-2, July 7-8, November 13
Nuit August 24-28, December 25
Vesta February 13, March 1, April 28, May 15, June 7 & 9 & 15 & 24

Graves Version of the Celtic Lunar Calendar
- 13 Months, 28 days each

Month Begins Tree Stone Attribute
Beth December 24 Birch Quartz Inception
Luis January 21 Rowan Tourmaline Quickening
Nion February 18 Ash Aquamarine Seapower
Fearn March 18 Alder Garnet Fire
Saille April 15 Willow Moonstone Enchantment
Vath May 13 Hawthorn Lapis Lazuli Cleansing
Duir June 10 Oak Diamond Endurance
Tinne July 8 Holly Ruby Blood
Coll August 5 Hazel Topaz Wisdom
Muin September 2 Vine Amethyst Exhilaration
Gert September 30 Ivy Opal Resurrection
Pethboc October 28 Dwarf Elder Saphire Royalty
Ruis November 25 Elder Peridot The Inevitable
December 23 is New Years Day, the 1 extra day included at midwinter
For additional information on the Celtic Calendar, try these links:
Pax Consultings Celtic Calendar
Celt.nets Celtic History site The Coligny Calendar

Further Information

Inclusion in this list of sites does not mean that I endorse the practices advocated by the authors of the site, it simply means that it is a source of additional information on the Sabbats.

Holidays of Witchcraft information is located Here

The Agnostic Pagan - Sabbats

The American Witch - Sabbats

Holiday information is Here

The section on the seasons is Here

Epona's Celtic Cauldron Wheel Page

Silver Rains and Moondust Showers - Sabbats

Dates of Solstices and Equinoxes

Year Spring Equinox Summer Solstice Fall Equinox Winter Solstice
Month Day Hour Month Day Hour Month Day Hour Month Day Hour
2000 March 20 07 June 21 1 Sept 22 17 Dec 21 13
2001 March 20 13 June 21 7 Sept 22 23 Dec 21 19
2002 March 20 19 June 21 13 Sept 23 4 Dec 22 1
2003 March 21 1 June 21 19 Sept 23 10 Dec 22 7
2004 March 20 6 June 21 0 Sept 22 16 Dec 21 12
2005 March 20 12 June 21 6 Sept 22 22 Dec 21 18